Winter sports finally begin
Finally, the high school winter sports season has officially begun. We can only hope it continues without interruptions again.
Last season, the wrestling and dance line teams completed their entire seasons, including state tournaments. Then came the girls basketball season with Minneota favored to win the Class A state championship. But the pandemic reared it ugly head and the state girls basketball tournament was cancelled moments before the Vikings were ready to take the court for their semifinal game.
The boys basketball post-season was already in its section tournament when the season was halted and they also had no state tournament this year.
When winter sports were set to begin this year, the season was put on hiatus ... until now.
Practices began on Monday, Jan. 4, but schedule are still being worked out.
The wrestling team's season opener is slated for Thursday, Jan. 14 in a home triangular against Tracy-Milroy-Balaton/Westbrook-Walnut Grove and Red Rock Central.
The girls basketball team opens at home on Friday, Jan. 15 against MACCRAY. The boys basketball team also opens at home, hosting Dawson-Boyd on Friday, Jan. 16."The schedules are just constantly changing/moving/adjusting," said Minneota Athletic/Activities Director Cari Pohlen. "That is the hardest thing right now.”
"In a normal year, we are preparing for the next year. Right now we are preparing for next week, and know that we will likely make changes daily. Gym space with all the teams going at the same time has been something that has been a struggle, and I'm very thankful to have flexible and understanding administration, staff, faculty, parents and students."
The majority of the scheduling is done via email if it's for one event, Pohlen noted.
"It seems like if there are two or more events that we need to change with another school, a phone call is usually easier and quicker," she said. "Finding a time to catch with one another on the phone is the bigger challenge for AD's as we all have such different assignments and duties."
Schedules for winter activities will be a 70 percent reduction from normal years, similar to how the fall season was treated this past year.
This year, boys and girls basketball will be allowed a maximum of 18 games and will focus mainly on teams in the conference and section or are local. In a normal full season, teams are allowed 26 regular-season games.
"Teams can have a maximum of two games per week, with the last two weeks allowing for three games for any COVID or weather-related reschedules," said Pohlen.
Wrestling is allowed a total of 16 dates that consist of duals and triangulars only.
Dance is going to be allowed 11 regular season dates with a max of two duals or triangulars per week.
There are no tournaments allowed for any sports, in state or out of state.
The Minnesota State High School League is hoping for a section and state tournament of some sort, but nothing has been decided for now. Wrestling sections would start the week of March 7 and boys and girls basketball sections would both begin on March 14.